CNN's upcoming Trump town hall is a masterclass in mutual self-interest

From "fake news" to featured guest, Trump's pending CNN interview is more than just a campaign stop by a high-profile candidate

Donald Trump
(Image credit: Photo by Jaap Arriens / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

It's been years since CNN hosted former President Donald Trump for an appearance or interview on the network he's long decried as "fake news" and an "enemy of the people." In fact, aside from his various invectives against the station on social media, the most significant interaction between Trump and CNN of late came several months ago in the form of a nearly $500 million defamation suit, alleging the network had enacted a "campaign of libel and slander" against the once and aspiring future president in its recent coverage. So it was surprising to some when CNN announced this week that Trump had nevertheless accepted an invitation to appear at an upcoming "town hall" interview on May 10, where he would answer questions from "a live audience of New Hampshire Republicans and undeclared voters who say they intend to vote in the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary."

"CNN has a longstanding tradition of hosting leading presidential candidates for town halls and political events as a critical component of the network's robust campaign coverage," corporate owners Warner Media explained in a statement, adding that "this event with former President Trump will be the first of many for CNN in the coming months."

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.